Why I’m Taking My 9-Year-Old To SlutWalk
I have a huge problem with the sexification of ‘tween wardrobes. You wonâ€™t find my daughter wearing a micro mini, strappy dress or kiddie heels. It goes without saying that bikinis â€“ and even shirts with coy, â€œsassyâ€ phrases â€“ are verboten, too. No Lolita-esque tees with screen-printed cherries will ever cross the threshold of our house for years â€“ nay, decades â€“ to come.
So why are we going to Slutwalk?
Because it’s vital that we attend.
A newly revitalized sister protest to Take Back The Night , SlutWalks sprang up a few months ago in response to the misguided advice a Toronto police officer provided to a sexual assault prevention workshop held at York University: To avoid sexual victimization, donâ€™t dress like a slut. (I donâ€™t need to outline how simplistic, wrong and offensive this view of sexual assault is â€“ Iâ€™m sure you know that already.)
I have some concerns about the walk: Will there be misogynist counter protesters? Will some of the participants be dressed like burlesque performers, and will my 9-year-old understand the finer points of certain Millennial feminist wardrobe choices? Will the weather cooperate?
Either way, I want us to be part of a movement of women Ââ€“ of people â€“ saying â€œAre you out of your [email protected]#king mind?! In 2011, we still need to argue that no means no, regardless of whether a woman is wearing a miniskirt, tight jeans or sexy-nurse Halloween outfit?â€
I want my kid to see that sometimes citizens take to the streets to be heard. That this is as much a part of democracy as voting.
But weâ€™re going to have to talk beforehand â€“ and itâ€™ll be an ongoing, open-ended conversation about girls and clothes. About the pressure society places on females to look sexually enticing â€“ and how it rewards or punishes them, depending on circumstance.
I wonâ€™t lie: I donâ€™t want my daughter to dress like a â€œslut.â€ Not now, not ever. Sheâ€™s too smart, too active, too worldly, too outgoing â€“ and, yes, too conventionally good looking â€“ to ever have to take a lowest-common-denominator approach to catching someoneâ€™s eye. (I wish more moms and dads would tell their daughters that.)
But â€œfashion crimesâ€ shouldnâ€™t be regarded by men or officers of the law as an invitation or justification for sex crimes.
So, weâ€™ll be attending our first mother-daughter demonstration next month, clad in our matching sensible skinny-but-not-skin-tight jeans, tees and cardis. I hope you will join us, too, whether youâ€™re rocking a burka or denim hot pants and fishnets.